Check out a nice guide from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada entitled “Shelterbelts – Design Guidelines for Farmyard, Field, Roadside, Livestock, Wildlife and Riparian Buffer Plantings on the Prairies.”
5 Aug 2010. The tool has been updated.
USDA has a new tool that lets you download soil and pasture rental rates (for CRP and other uses) in a variety of ways. Also has an EI caclulator.
New York Times article on the recovery of the trout fishery in Iowa, thanks in no small part to CRP.
My colleagues just completed a multi-state northern bobwhite research initiative. The final report was just published by NRCS and is available online. It summarizes a suite of research projects that will improve conservation on farms. A quote from the Foreward should pique your interest – “You will find clear, concise recommendations and the kind of conservation practices to use on your farm or recommend to others for quail restoration. Much of the bobwhite’s needs are supported by farm bill programs approved by Congress and administered by USDA NRCS.” – L. Pete Heard
USDA has published a new 136-page corridor manual:
Bentrup, G. 2008. Conservation Buffers: Design Guidelines for Buffers, Corridors, and Greenways. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-109. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station.
This is the NEW best corridor manual in existence, a planning tool following up Conservation Corridor Planning at the Landscape Level (the “old” best corridor manual reviewed earlier by yours truly). This new manual is designed for use in the field. It is small and spiral bound. It has great diagrams, rules of thumb for the practical landowner, and it describes design guidelines for 7 major objectives – water quality, biodiversity, productive soils, economic opportunities, protection & safety, aesthetics & visual quality, and outdoor recreation. Importantly, it updates the science and includes recommendations for both urban and agricultural landscapes.
At www.bufferguidelines.net, you can also download the bibliography ( 1,400+ references!), case studies and slideshows that complement the guide. Available as a free downloadable pdf or order it as a spiral bound copy.
One caveat: This new manual does not make the “old” best corridor manual – Conservation Corridor Planning at the Landscape Level – obsolete. The old manual is a different type of publication – more like a textbook with more detailed explanations of the theories behind design principles and numerous detailed case studies. For classroom study or for designing comprehensive management plans, the first corridor manual is still “required reading.”
USDA’s Conservation Assessment Effects Project has just released two extensive reviews of the effects of agricultural conservation practices – like those used in CRP and other conservation programs (public announcement here). Part A addresses terrestrial habitats and Part B addresses aquatic habitats. Even better is the dynamic bibliography.
Missouri Extension has published a great guide for installing field borders (herbaceous strips of vegetation replacing crops at field edges) entitled Field borders for agronomic, economic and wildlife benefits. The document illustrates some important principles of corridor design that we focus on in my course, but that are not incorporated (intentionally!) into farm plans nearly enough. The document is b/w, but color versions of the pictures can be viewed on the html version HERE.